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Singer’s swastika in Bayreuth: picture

This is a screen-grab of the swastika tattoo that forced Yevgeny Nikitin to leave Bayreuth today. Like the Flying Dutchman, the Wagner role he was meant to sing, Nikitin is going to be sailing the high seas for a very long time before he finds rest from this:


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  1. IF it’s the NAZI swastika, then he made a dumb and repugnant decision to have the tattoo applied. He could now act responsibly and have it removed. If he believes in their heinous ideas, then he should leave it intact and at least have the guts to honestly stand by the icon’s hideous symbolism and all that it represents. BUT IF IT’S the North American Indian swastika, then he’s done nothing for which he should apologize. They’re similar, but not identical.

    • It is apparently difficult to have removed for various reasons.
      He has, though (some years ago) had it covered up with another tattoo, which has the same net effect.

  2. Rosana Martins says:

    I certainly hope you are right, Norman!

  3. Graf Nugent says:

    It’s all very strange. Nikitin has made a big deal of his tattoos since being in Bayreuth. To plead ignorance regarding the significance of the symbol there is plainly stupid, but he seems to have provoked his own departure. His replacement, the tattoo-free Samuel Youn, sang extremely well, by the way, just in case anyone’s interested.

  4. the swastika (whether of Nazi or north American Indian origin) is partly obscured by an owl+foliage as part of the design. Rather hard to discern, and decidedly odd.

  5. What exactly goes through the mind of someone who thinks it would be a good thing to have a Nazi Swastika tatooed – whatever age they are? What does the swastika represent to them? What is represents to anyone with half a brain is something completely horrific, at any stage of their life.

    He says he had the tatoo done when he was ‘young and foolish’. I cannot see how that can possibly be an excuse for anything. Not only did he have it done, but he has failed to get rid of it, and made a point of displaying his tatoos. ‘Older and stupider’ is the phrase that springs to mind. Is it possible that he thought it would be a popular move at Bayreuth to have such a thing made public knowledge? If so, he must be as thick as a plank.

    On four counts his stance is entirely unforgivable – 1. that he had it done in the first place, 2. that he didn’t get rid of it, 3. that he displayed it openly, and 4. that he cannot find a better explanation.

    By the way, if was of North American Indian origin, he would have said so immediately.

    • Wanderer says:

      “Entirely unforgivable”… really?
      He did get rid of it as much as is possible with tattoos. He covered it completely with another tattoo. He regrets he was so stupid to have it done in the first place. It was stupid but context matters.
      “Entirely unforgivable”? I don’t think so.

      • Exactly. Let us remember that he is Russian, where, unfortunately, the Nazi “culture” has been embraced by a small but significant portion of the youth of the country. The country overall is far from a bastion of tolerance. If he had grown up in the US, UK or continental Europe, it would be a very different story. But it does sound as if, when he became educated, he tried to cover the tattoo. He should be viewed for the man he is now – I would think that would be a very appropriate sentiment in Bayreuth.

      • Drew Lewis says:

        “Context matters…” I imagine that Wanderer would freak out at the suggestion that his comment might be misconstrued as a sort of apologia for the Holocaust.

        • @Drew Lewis,

          Is that how you read his comment? It certainly does not read that way to me.

    • Oh, don’t be so sanctimonious. He clearly had a “wild youth”, and the use of politically sensitive symbols, displays, and acts which most would find offensive was and is routine in younger music groups who wish to shock (see most punk, heavy metal, and other bands for examples).

      So [1] Having it done in the first place is entirely forgivable now. It was a product of the times and the place he was in.
      [2] get your facts straight – he has done what he can to effectively remove it (it is covered with another tattoo / made into a new design). Apparently it can’t be removed straight off, but the effect is the same – it isn’t openly there.
      [3] he hasn’t / doesn’t display it openly. See [2].
      [4] what sort of “better explanation” do you want?!

      Sure, it wasn’t a sensible thing to have done. But how many musicians in his line of work back then acted sensibly? It is entirely forgivable.

  6. He has had more work to cover up the tattoo since this photo. Check for a better one, you’ll see he did put in more effort to repent.

    • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

      I agree that he made an effort to rectify the problem image. I suggest he put on a shirt and keep his mouth shut except when singing. I still believe that they made the right decision to replace him.

  7. jeff marshall says:

    that tat on the right of the swazi is some other runic symbol from the nazi era as well

  8. Elizabeth says:

    The Indian (Hindu) symbol is different. The “arms” face the opposite direction. There is no question of what this symbol represents.

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